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For example, "Bluetooth devices have become commonplace in recent years..."

The Russian Wikipedia offers Блютус. I am not 100% certain this is the case; for example Bulgarian and (I believe) some other Slavic language pages seem to lean towards Блутут...


Clarification of the question vis-a-vis the angle of some of the answers provided. This is not a theoretical linguistics question. The peculiarities of the genesis of the term Bluetooth, or incompatibilities of the sound systems between languages, while interesting topics all, are not really relevant here.

Assume the following scenario: you are the managing director of an electronics company, and you are being interviewed for a (Russian) TV or radio infomercial about some of the upcoming gadgets in your product pipeline. So in your statement like "... this exciting new product takes full advantage of the Bluetooth technology...", what would be the term you use (or, better yet, what term your PR person would advise you to use so that the interview goes down smoothly with the educated, affluent, tech-oriented segment of the Russian audience)?

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    It is impossible to transliterate this word into Russian. From Byzantine Greek this sound was transliterated with ф, which I think the most close. – Anixx Dec 4 '13 at 13:38
  • @Anixx maybe you are right when it comes to scientific terms which usually has greek origin. But the word 'tooth' is not Greek, so I doubt that Byzantine rules can be applied here. 'Th' at the end of word may be heard as 'с' and the borrowed word may keep this sound. For instance Stealth fighter is translated as "Истребитель стелс" and not "стелф" or "стелт". – Artemix Dec 4 '13 at 14:34
  • I want to emphasize the Anixx obswervation that the question wanted to say transliteration instead of translation. It also has a good point that th is often transliterated as ф. But also c and т are legitimate. There seems no rules and there is difficult for russians to transilterate such uncerain thing. So Blutuz,Blutus, Blutuf are used interchangably. But it won't be a big mistake if you transliterate Синезуб, Blutut or Blutup. – Val Dec 4 '13 at 19:55
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I think it is still unstable. Russian doesn't have [θ] sound, so it usually became [т] (ортофосфорный) or [ф] (Федора) or even [с] or [з] (Саус Парк).

Definitely, it is not блутут now (nobody will understand you). I, personally, spell блутус or блютус.

Generally speaking, here is my vision about how th is transcripted in Russian:

  1. Long-loaned Greek or Hebrew words: Руфь, Юдифь, кафедра, Феодосий, Фома. Usually these are biblical words, but there are also орфография и орфоэпия. I think the time usually is near Christianization of Rus.

  2. Not-so-long-loaned Greek and other words, especially if they came through European languages: ортогональный (note same 'ortho'), теология, католичество. Here are also some traditionally translated English words like Хитроу (Heathrow), Джонатан, Джудит (though she is the same biblical Judith).

  3. Some modern unofficial English translations: стелс (stealth), блютус (bluetooth), Хизер Миллс (Heather Mills).

    I think it begins when most of Russians started to learn English at schools (second half of 20th century?), because they really hear th as [с] or [з] (Зыс из э тэйбл). There was a discussion 'How should we transcript South Park?' in Russian Wikipedia, and the reason for Саутпарк was that there is already good old Саутгемптон (Southampton).

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    Another example: Stealth fighter is "Истребитель стелс". – Artemix Dec 4 '13 at 14:35
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    Many people also say блютуф. – Sergey Kirienko Dec 4 '13 at 15:09
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    National corpus gives only one example for "блюту*" - блютуз. Let's ask Google: блютус - 1750К pages, блютуз - 983К, блютуф - 56.7К, блютут - 23.5K. I think that блютус is preferred over блютуз, because for latter spelling you pronounce last "з" as "с" anyway. – Artemix Dec 4 '13 at 15:31
  • There is an interesting example, "death metal" as a music style is transliterated as "дэт-метал" by some, and as "дэз-метал" by others, but "дэс-метал" is rather rare. – Yellow Sky Dec 4 '13 at 16:26
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The main objective is to say something that sounds like a Russian word, I think. Блютус is fine then.

It's rather risky, but you may definitely say Синезуб — it would sound like real Russian word, and I'm sure about 90% of Russians (especially those who are familiar with the technology) will understand you. And it will cause some nice smiles too :)

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Блютуз or Блютус will be most appropriate. Nobody says Блутут in Russian:) You can find version Голубой Зуб in texts of humorous nature.

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  • Though I agree with your answer, but according to Google there are some people that say блютут - the search returns 23 400 pages with such spelling. – Artemix Dec 4 '13 at 16:15
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    @Artemix, So, if a short-range wireless network is called "блютут", then a longer-range wireless networks (wi-fi) should be called "блютам". :) – Dima Dec 4 '13 at 16:36
  • They should net be capitalized. – Anixx Dec 7 '13 at 2:09
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In Russian, Bluetooth (i. e. Bluetooth-технология) is used in >90% of cases. Less used is блютуз, and even less used is блютус. Below are the results of the search on Russian web-auction molotok.ru

  • Bluetooth - 501 ads
  • блютуз - 28 ads
  • блютус - 6 ads

There is also a jargon or colloquial expression голубой/синий зуб (and adjectives голубозубый, синезубый), used at phorums and blogs.

The words "блютуз" and "блютус" are not capitalized, and any declension of them is colloquial.

There are no words "блютут", "блютуф" or "блютуфь" in Russian.

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